From The Straits Times    |

Let’s talk about skincare! Dr Teo Wan Lin, dermatologist and medical director of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, joined us in an Instagram Live event, in collaboration with Clinique, to share the importance of skin health in this new normal of mask-wearing and working from home, as well as what ingredients you should look out for in your skincare. 

Clinique-Her-World-Even-Better-Together-Dr Teo Wan Lin

The New Normal: Skin Concerns In The Time Of Covid 

Why is maskne – breakouts predominantly around the chin – so prevalent these days?  

These breakouts, which occur where skin is covered by a face mask, are not a brand-new condition. They are a variant of a well-established form of acne, called acne mechanica, which occurs due to friction, pressure, as well as the micro-environment of skin being affected by humidity and an increase in skin temperature. These, in turn, influence skin’s pH microbiome balance – the bacteria and organisms that live on your skin – and lead to breakouts).

Besides the face, can you get acne on other parts of your body, like the arms, chest or back? 

Some people might have acne-like lesions on their bodies, but that doesn’t mean it is acne. The key difference between facial skin and skin on the rest of the body is the production of oil. Areas like the palms and soles are completely devoid of oil glands, so you’ll never have any oil gland-related issue, like acne, there. 

Depending on your genetics, you may have more oil production over the central chest, as well as on your back. And if you do have acne on your chest or back, sometimes you might also be suffering from a concurrent infection known as pityrosporum folliculitis, which is also known as fungal acne. This is caused by a yeast, a fungal organism, that overgrows in hot, humid climates, such as Singapore’s, usually over areas where you produce more oil. Should this happen, it can be treated with antifungal products like shampoo and cream, in conjunction with an anti-inflammatory acne treatment.

Post-Maskne Scars: The Quest For Brighter Skin 

What are some must-have ingredients we should look out for in our skincare products to get radiant skin?

The great thing about topical application, with serums, creams and emulsions, is that they are able to access the skin directly. Ultimately, the important function of a great ingredient is that it should have a cell-protective effect, as well as an environmental-protective effect. (On your skincare product) these ingredients are listed from the highest to the lowest percentage, so this gives you a sense of how much of each active ingredient is present in the product.

Some active ingredients you can look out for are botanicals such as green tea camellia sinensis, and resveratrol extracted from grapes. These are rich in antioxidants that have potent free radical-scavenging properties, which target the cell mechanisms that are responsible for the deterioration in your skin’s appearance. In addition, these botanical extracts also have the amazing benefit of fulfilling both the antioxidant cytoprotective (protecting cells against free radical damage) and photo-protective effects (protecting cells against sun damage) on skin.

Another good antioxidant that you can include is vitamin C. It can play a role in improving the condition of your skin, even helping with skin concerns like maskne. It does so in two ways: controlling the acne by preventing acne-causing bacteria that can cause inflammation, and reducing post-acne scarring as it helps lighten pigmentation through melanin inhibition.

In your opinion, how can products such as Clinique’s Even Better Clinical™ Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter support radiance in our skin?

It has a good combination of botanical extracts: camellia sinensis polyphenols that we discussed earlier, and rice bran extract, which is also a potent anthocyanin (a compound that is rich in antioxidants) that works directly on cell mechanisms to reverse a lot of sun and environment-related ageing processes.

And when used regularly, these ingredients will help improve skin radiance as well as quality. In addition, even though the serum focuses on brightening, it doesn’t ignore the health of the skin barrier. It contains sodium hyaluronate, squalene and glycerin, which are important humectants that help trap moisture under the skin. In order for you to have healthy, radiant skin that is resilient against environmental stresses, your skincare has to include both antioxidant and barrier restorative properties.

Why Healthy Skin Is So Important & How To Achieve It 

Would it be better to look for dermatologist-tested products? How do they differ from other products in the market?

I have to highlight that this term – dermatologist-tested – isn’t regulated. In addition, the label does not necessarily mean that the product was developed in conjunction with a dermatologist in a clinical setting, nor does it mean that they work with dermatologists to assess certain efficacy or the allergenicity of the product.

So when it comes to choosing skincare products, it’s important to understand the brand’s history and how it develops its products.

As for Clinique, the brand has worked with dermatologists since its inception, and I think it has also been well-known for keeping its product formulations allergy-free. So these, in my opinion, are much more valuable than just the label, dermatologist-tested.

Moving Towards An #EvenBetterTomorrow

For many of us, Covid-19 has changed our way of life. How has it changed the way you view work and life?

I converted to a predominantly plant-based diet since the start of Covid-19. As a medical doctor, it was very scary to see what Covid-19 was all about, because we’ve never ever seen any microorganism, any germ or any infectious disease of this nature. It’s potentially life-threatening, but at the same time, spreads asymptomatically in otherwise healthy-looking individuals. Not to mention, it is so infectious.

We now know that the origin of the Covid-19 virus was from the animal kingdom, and it’s not normal at all for these viruses to cross over to us in such a way and cause a pandemic. And it is clearly linked to the fact that we, humans, are encroaching onto another species’ habitat. So as a personal decision, I decided very simply that if we stop eating animals, we are much less likely to get another pandemic. It’s not impossible, but much less likely. And it’s increasingly borne out by science and nutrition that we can get a complete holistic diet from a plant-based diet.

But I do still eat a lot of fish as it’s full of unsaturated fats, which are the good fats, that help with our brain health, skin health and the process of anti-ageing.

Besides a change in diet, how else have you been taking care of yourself?

I love the perspective of this campaign, because the theme of self-improvement essentially describes my life’s ethos. Those who know me know that I’m always thinking of learning new things and adopting very holistic, integrated measures for health in general.

I think that it’s important for every individual to understand that your life really depends on the decisions you take. So even though we talk about mental, emotional and physical health, these components are never independent of one another. And to do so, you have to look within yourself for your sense of identity, and that includes being very comfortable and assured in your life goals, and not being swayed by the things that are happening around you.

Finding that inner sense of identity helps you cope with the things around you, and that has always been my way of dealing with various stresses. Even on the best of days, there will be hiccups. It’s not about wishing that everything will go exactly as planned, but knowing that you are equipped to handle the things that end up on your lap. 

Making Your Skin Even Better With Clinique’s Even Better Clinical™ Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter


As Dr Teo highlights, the Clinique Even Better Clinical™ Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter isn’t just a brightening serum. It is a holistic skincare product that combines botanically derived antioxidants like gyokuro (Japanese green tea) and rice bran, with a vitamin C derivative, glucosamine and salicylic acid, along with moisture-attracting humectants of sodium hyaluronate, squalene and glycerine. The formula helps erase the appearance of pigmentation spots and old acne scars, to help achieve a healthier, stronger and more radiant complexion.

And when your skin looks good, you feel good, which gives you the confidence you need to make your tomorrow an even better one.


Clinique Even Better Clinical™ Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter, is available at $115 for 30ml, and $150 for 50ml. Find out how good it is by redeeming a travel-sized sample here. Limited to 200 redemptions, one per customer. Valid while stocks last.

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